Talented two-year-old Of The Brave has stamped his claims as a serious Blue Diamond Stakes prospect at Caulfield this afternoon; displaying a good enough sprint to hold of a flying Pride Of Dubai in a photo finish in the Group 3 Blue Diamond C&G (1100m).
Jumping from the gates well, Of The Brave immediately charged to the fore of the pack; finding a position on the rails alongside the likes of Kirrabo, Pride Of Dubai and Bantam, setting a particularly fast tempo.
Remaining on the rails rounding onto the finals straight, the Starspangledbanner colt charged several lengths clear of his closest rivals with 300m to run and appeared to be a sure thing, but was almost run down by Peter and Paul Snowden’s colt on the line.
Mark Riley was understandably pleased with Of The Brave’s performance for victory in the 2015 Blue Diamond Prelude C&G and is confident the first-up run will count for a lot in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes in a fortnight.
“He’s obviously earned his place here today, two for two now,” Riley said.
“He was very vulnerable today – they’ve gone very hard and he’s done it all the way, the horse.
“If he was going to be beaten today, today wouldn’t have been his day. He’ll take real good improvement from this.
“I said to Stephen before the race look, he needs a real good hard run today to go into the Diamond and this will top him up lovely.
“He’s not a horse going into this race a spent horse; he’s going in on the way up.”
Jockey Stephen Baster delivered an exceptional ride of Of The Brave for Blue Diamond Prelude success, and is confident he will be very hard to beat in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“He wasn’t really in it in the first 50 metres today,” Baster said.
“He wasn’t as brilliant early as I thought, and I started him up and he just wouldn’t come back under me, he just wanted to over-race.
“I knew we would be vulnerable and I thought we got beat on the line so it was a pleasant surprise to see the camera following me afterwards.
“I think there’s plenty of improvement there and I think you’ll find he’ll be very hard to beat.”
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2015 Blue Diamond Prelude Colts and Geldings Results
|1||1||OF THE BRAVE||Mark Riley||Stephen Baster||–||10||55.5kg||$3.60F|
|2||10||PRIDE OF DUBAI||Peter & Paul Snowden||Damian Browne||0.1L||7||55.5kg||$4.80|
|3||4||SAMPEAH||John O’Shea||Chad Schofield||2.85L||4||55.5kg||$6.50|
|4||7||TOP ME UP||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||2.95L||11||55.5kg||$13|
|5||6||BRACCENBY||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||3.7L||2||55.5kg||$21|
|6||11||CALL ME ANYTHING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Mark Zahra||4.1L||14||55.5kg||$61|
|7||2||BANTAM||John O’Shea||Craig Williams||4.3L||12||55.5kg||$14|
|8||8||GREDINGTON||Pat Hyland||Ryan Maloney||5.05L||13||55.5kg||$26|
|9||16||STYLISH ASSASSIN||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||5.15L||9||55.5kg||$14|
|10||15||EXTRA CHOICE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||5.25L||8||55.5kg||$10|
|11||17e||BLACK VANQUISH||Tom Hughes||Steven Arnold||5.55L||5||55.5kg||$17|
|12||5||ICEFLOW||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||7.3L||3||55.5kg||$31|
|13||12||DEMONSTRATE||John O’Shea||Nicholas Hall||8.55L||1||55.5kg||$31|
|14||9||KIRABO||Mick Price||Daniel Moor||9.55L||6||55.5kg||$51|